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21 Feb

The Trick

“The Trick is the adaptation of “The Shadow of the Glen” by Synge. A musician knocks at a house for shelter and finds Kamuli, the lady of the house beside the corpse of her husband Kalekezi. It is a rectangular hut .Kamuli receives the musician. He sees the dead man but says that the dead man looks queer. She tells him that she was not to touch the dead body for fear of a curse. He had said that if he touched his dead body she would never sleep again.

Her husband, Kalekezi loved to think of his childhood and his own people. He was cold towards her. Besides he was drunk most of the time.The musician finds it strange to see a woman stay the whole night alone with a dead body. She tells him she had to stay because her neighbours were far away .It is horrible for her to be a young woman, to be without a child and to be married to an old drunk. She always felt lonely and afraid. He tells her that he had met Kazungu on the road. She goes to meet Kazungu

Kalekezi gets up when the musician is alone. The musician is terrified to see the dead man move. He learns that he has been feigning death to expose his wife. He asks for a drink. He tells the musician that Kamuli is a bad woman. She is always worried about money .Besides he is a bad wife. He asks the musician not to tell Kamuli that he is alive.He goes back to feigning death when Kazungu and Kamuli enter. (Kazungu had lots of cattle.  He had a small shed near their home where he slept on market days. He was greedy for money.) Kamuli notices that there is smell of waragi in the room .Kamuli   tells them that she had married him for the good land and the money he had. She tells them that she was always lonely with no one for company .Kazungu promises to move in with her once the old man is buried. Kamuli tells him that it is stupid to marry any man. They will all get old. They will be smelling of drink and be tiresome because of their snoring.

Kalezeki slowly gets up and sneezes He is angry that they are not even willing to wait for him to be buried before discussing marriage. Kalekezi asks her to get out of the house. He knows before long that she will also be old .Then young men will not want her. They will laugh at her toothless gums and her wrinkled face. However Kazungu is unwilling to accept her and suggests that she could go back to her own family. Kalekezi is sure that they won’t take her back.

Kalekezi snatches the money from her hands and dismisses her from the house. He suggests that Kazungu might take her. She realizes that Kazungu wants her only if she has all the money. Then the musician invites her to join him. He tells her that he has no house or food to give her. He promises to teach her how to live. He tells her that he will teach her to dismiss loneliness. He thinks that they can earn money with his songs and her dance.

He tells her that she will hear the laughter of the world if she goes with him. He also promises hard times. He tells her that it is meaningless to sit and watch an old man snoring in his drunken sleep. She likes the way the musician talks. Besides she thinks that he has a   kindly face. She agrees to go with him leaving the old man behind. They leave while Kalekezi and Kazungu share a drink,

The drama has an interesting twist at the end Surprisingly Kamuli leaves the house with a musician whom she knows so little. She is happy when he promises her a real life of freedom.


1. She would never sleep again if she touched him or let any one touch his body except his sister Sirisita

2. The musician is never lonely or afraid because he is too poor and homeless. He cannot afford to be afraid because he had to walk through forests or where robbers were.

3. Kamuli wants Kazungu to go and tell her husband’s sister Sirisita that her brother is dead.

3. He will move with her after her husband has been buried , after all the rites are over and some of the money is given to his family.

4. He had good land, money and who would look after her when she grew old if she didn’t marry someone like him. 

Prof Pius Ozhakal

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